The Reading: Luke 12:13-21
“Bid my brother divide the inheritance with me” (v.13) RSV
People have come into their worldly inheritance in many ways. Some simply receive it through the Will of their parents. Some have seized it by force. Some have caused a small inheritance to grow exponentially. Some families are torn apart by wrangles over their inheritance.
Our reading today tells how one brother approached Jesus, aggrieved that his brother was not spontaneously sharing the inheritance with him. Jesus’ response was to say that he had no authority to settle the matter; that was a matter for the law of the land. However, his advice was not to be consumed with inheritance and justice, but to adopt a spirit of trust in God’s provision.
We may or may not be ‘lucky’ in what material abundance comes our way. We may seem to miss out and others (no doubt less deserving!) get all the ‘luck’. But we are not trusting to ‘luck’ but to providence. That is to say, we trust that God will provide (which is the meaning of ‘providence’) all our needs according to his riches in Christ Jesus. We are not dependant on the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune”, as Shakespeare put it, but on the promises of God.
Jesus was not interested in fair play, that was up to the law court. He was concerned that no one is distracted by greed for, or dependence on, wealth. It may even be better to let go that which was legitimately ours, so that love and generosity may be maintained. The health of our soul is more important than the health of our bank balance.
So whatever we have received and however it has come our way, we have to be sure that we are not dependant on it for our security, but rather, dependant on the goodliness of our God. And if we have an inheritance, we are responsible to use it wisely and not to squander it.
Thank you Lord for all I have. I trust you with what I have lost. Teach me godliness with contentment, for I know you have promised to provide all my needs. Amen.
1 Who tricked his brother out of his Birthright and Blessing?
2 What does Paul teach about money and contentment?